HBCU Environmental Justice Academy

What is the Environmental Justice Academy?

A complete program description is available here.

Through a three-day series, the Environmental Justice Academy (EJ Academy) will cultivate skills so that participants may successfully identify their environmental challenges and accomplish their communities’ environmental improvement goals. The Environmental Justice Academy is a virtual academy, the capstone project is in-person.

Courses include environmental laws and regulations, community capacity building,strategic partnerships and replication of best practices. Students will learn professional program and project management, grant writing, program evaluation, and resource management skills.

After completing the EJ Academy, students will return to their respective universities and complete a capstone project by the end of the Spring Semester. The capstone project is student led with a committed faculty mentor guiding the student’s progress to success. The goal of the capstone project is to identify and address an environmental challenge in the student’s community. 

The EJ Academy is primarily based on EPA’s Collaborative Problem-Solving (CPS) Model, which is a seven-step process for bringing about positive change and community revitalization by having community leaders, community members, and their
stakeholders working together.

The main topics addressed in each module include, but are not limited to the following:
1. Setting goals
2. Advocating for your community
3. Dealing with differences
4. Partnering and leveraging resources
5. Grant-writing and securing funds
6. Sustaining organizational efforts
7. Assessing progress

Program Goals:
• Gain a basic understanding of environmental justice - its principles, concepts, and history
• Identify and address communities’ environmental and/or public health concerns through the use of tools and other resources
• Learn how to leverage human, social, and financial resources to make long-term progress in communities
• Understand how to use consensus-building processes and skills to help ensure successful collaboration and negotiations
• Apply knowledge on environmental regulations and policies to determine the best approach to address environmental challenges
• Gain an understanding of key steps in conducting an evaluation of progress and efforts, as well as developing evaluation plans, designing logic models and documenting program efforts

Benefits from Participating in the EJ Academy:
As a result of participating in the EJ Academy, participants will receive the following benefits:
• Foundational knowledge and support to complete a project capstone, which will assist in a student’s academic and professional career
• Become an active stakeholder in the community
• Interact directly with technical experts
• Network with community leaders, faculty mentors, and federal partners to establish mutually beneficial relationships

How to Apply:
Application available here.
Each applicant must submit a completed application package which consists of the following:
• Applicant Information Form (Part A)
• Responses to the essay questions (Part B)
• Letter of Recommendation* (Part C1) Please include a letter recommendation from a faculty member, professor, or community leader that highlights: your accomplishments, leadership roles, community service, and ability to successfully complete the EJ Academy and how you would benefit from the EJ Academy.
• Letter of Commitment* (Part C2) Please include a letter of commitment from a faculty member or professor that expresses their ability and commitment to guide and assist you in completing your EJ Capstone Project.
*Letters may be from the same individual, but should be seperate letters.

Once accepted into the EJ Academy, students will have transportation, lodging, and per diem covered.

Complete information about the Academy is online.

To be considered for selection, applications must be submitted online by 11:59 pm PT, April 30, 2022 to hbcuejacademy@gmail.com.  If you are unable to access the online application, please email dyoung23@tnstate.edu where you may request a hard copy.

Selection Process
• A review panel will evaluate applications based on responses to the assessment questions and
recommendation letters.
• No more than two people will be selected from the same university.
• All participants will be notified whether they were selected via e-mail.

The Environmental Justice Academy is funded by:
USDA Forest Service
Urban and Community Forestry

For more information, contact:

Khrystle Bullock


De’Etra Young, PhD
College of Agriculture
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209

Office: (615) 963-5123
Email: dyoung23@tnstate.edu